The Potential Eradication of Polio

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The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by SkepticalDragon on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:59 am

How To Get Rid Of Polio For Good? There's A $5 Billion Plan


A child is immunized against polio at the health clinic in a farming village in northern Nigeria. The procedure involves pinching two drops of the vaccine into the child's mouth. For full protection, the child needs three doses, spaced out over time.

Polio is on the verge of being eliminated. Last year there were just over 200 cases of polio, and they occurred in just two remote parts of the world — northern Nigeria and the rugged Afghan-Pakistan border region.

A new $5.5 billion plan being pushed by the World Health Organization strives to eliminate polio entirely, phase out vaccination campaigns and secure polio vaccine stockpiles in case the virus somehow manages to re-emerge.

If the effort is successful, polio would be just the second disease in human history, after smallpox, to be eliminated by medical science.

"We've never been so close to eradication as we are now," says Hamid Jafari, the director of Global Polio Eradication at WHO.

A quarter of a century ago there were roughly 300,000 polio cases a year worldwide. By 2011 that number had dropped to 650, and last year it was down to 223.

The new Global Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan aims to bring the number of new wild polio cases down to zero by 2015 and eradicate the virus entirely by 2018. It targets "wild" polio from normal transmission and the handful of so-called "vaccine-derived" cases, which are caused by the vaccine.

The plan calls for an orchestrated global transition from the oral vaccine, which contains live polio virus (and thus can cause "vaccine-derived" polio paralysis), to an injected vaccine made from dead virus.

Jafari says previous attempts to wipe out polio have stumbled because they lacked global coordination or adequate funding. And the biggest risk to the new plan's success is "if it is not financed up front."

In the 1950s, polio was spread all around the globe. Terrified parents in the U.S. wouldn't allow their children to go swimming in late summer out of fear that they'd catch the incurable condition. Slowly polio has been eliminated from one part of the world after another. Now it continues to spread only in isolated parts of Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The WHO, UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, have been pouring resources in to attack polio in these three countries.

Even though polio appears to be backed into a corner, Jafari says, it still has the potential to spread.

"Even as recently as 2011 we had an outbreak in China as a result as importation from Pakistan that killed many adults," he says. "Earlier this year the sewage sampling in Cairo detected wild polio virus that originated in parts of Pakistan."

The areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria where polio remains a problem are also areas torn by violence.

As recently as February 2013, nine female polio workers were gunned down in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

Apoorva Mallya, who works on vaccine-delivery programs for the Gates Foundation, says these incidents are unfortunate, but he points out that polio has been eliminated in other places during times of conflict.

"In specific places like Somalia, Sudan, El Salvador — it was during active conflict polio was stopped in those countries," he notes.

Mallya says what's really impressive is that India hasn't reported a new case of wild polio in more than two years. He says the new strategic plan incorporates many of the techniques and tools that were used in India to finish off the virus.
ALSO... this is current... and not an April Fools... At least I am more sure about it this time!

This would potentially be the second eradicated human disease since smallpox which happened, argumentatively, sometime between 1979 and 1980. ONWARDS TO VICTORY!!!!!!

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by Belsfir on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:38 am

I hope Im just reading this wrong, but they are gonna push 5 billion into stopping something that is already almost gone? They reported only 223 cases last year it says, so why use a vast sum of money to just stamp out something that is already almost gone as it is? It looks like it is already leading into eradication as it is, with these trends. My point is that this money could be used to help fight off the large scale and serious issues like cancer instead of disposing a declining disease which impacts only a very few amount of people. Again, I hope I am misinterpreting it.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by SkepticalDragon on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:11 pm

Belsfir wrote:I hope Im just reading this wrong, but they are gonna push 5 billion into stopping something that is already almost gone? They reported only 223 cases last year it says, so why use a vast sum of money to just stamp out something that is already almost gone as it is? It looks like it is already leading into eradication as it is, with these trends. My point is that this money could be used to help fight off the large scale and serious issues like cancer instead of disposing a declining disease which impacts only a very few amount of people. Again, I hope I am misinterpreting it.
I think you are. The World Health Organization in cooperation with many nations and charitable groups have been able to fight off Polio worldwide... the eradication of any disease costs a lot of expertise, resources, time, and money. To date WHO has only done it twice... and one of those was a disease that didn't affect humans.

The additional and upfront cost is more or less a shift from a macro 'war on polio' to a micro one (for example, preventing the accidental spread of polio by vaccination)... and this metaphorical war is now taking place in very unstable regions with inadequate infrastructure to continue this eradication. Five billion dollars in the schema of the world economy is like a drop in the bucket to finally bury this terrible illness for good.
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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by Belsfir on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:09 pm

SkepticalDragon wrote:
Belsfir wrote:I hope Im just reading this wrong, but they are gonna push 5 billion into stopping something that is already almost gone? They reported only 223 cases last year it says, so why use a vast sum of money to just stamp out something that is already almost gone as it is? It looks like it is already leading into eradication as it is, with these trends. My point is that this money could be used to help fight off the large scale and serious issues like cancer instead of disposing a declining disease which impacts only a very few amount of people. Again, I hope I am misinterpreting it.
I think you are. The World Health Organization in cooperation with many nations and charitable groups have been able to fight off Polio worldwide... the eradication of any disease costs a lot of expertise, resources, time, and money. To date WHO has only done it twice... and one of those was a disease that didn't affect humans.

The additional and upfront cost is more or less a shift from a macro 'war on polio' to a micro one (for example, preventing the accidental spread of polio by vaccination)... and this metaphorical war is now taking place in very unstable regions with inadequate infrastructure to continue this eradication. Five billion dollars in the schema of the world economy is like a drop in the bucket to finally bury this terrible illness for good.

I feel that 5 billion dollars could do more good for humanity if used to combat cancer or autism rather than to eradicate a disease that seems to only affect people in 3 digit numbers.

Ah, but I don't know the dangers of it if such an action was taken.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by BK-201 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:34 am

Polio can spread as stated in the article (China and Egypt) and if it can be permanently eradicated then we need to do so. We are on the verge of getting rid of this disease, it would be irresposible to just leave this opportunity because it only affects 200 people, who knows what the future holds, what if polio does come back with force and who is to say that this chance will ever come again. We can change the future for the better.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by steveyk on Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:22 pm

The United Nations are pure filth. This is one of a few good things it does.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by Colme on Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:49 pm

steveyk wrote:The United Nations are pure filth. This is one of a few good things it does.

Good late April Fools joke. The UN is one of the most important and revolutionary institutions developed in the modern era and is invaluable to progressive modernization and globalization.

I feel that 5 billion dollars could do more good for humanity if used to combat cancer or autism rather than to eradicate a disease that seems to only affect people in 3 digit numbers.

Arguably, no. Since most research into cancer or autism aim for that somewhat mythical "cure" due to the profit incentive of pharmaceutical companies, more practical preventative research is ignored. Sadly a lot of money put into cancer research or autism is wasted for this reason, so eradicating a disease is more economical and sensible in the long run.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by Belsfir on Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:49 pm

Colme wrote:
steveyk wrote:The United Nations are pure filth. This is one of a few good things it does.

Good late April Fools joke. The UN is one of the most important and revolutionary institutions developed in the modern era and is invaluable to progressive modernization and globalization.

I feel that 5 billion dollars could do more good for humanity if used to combat cancer or autism rather than to eradicate a disease that seems to only affect people in 3 digit numbers.

Arguably, no. Since most research into cancer or autism aim for that somewhat mythical "cure" due to the profit incentive of pharmaceutical companies, more practical preventative research is ignored. Sadly a lot of money put into cancer research or autism is wasted for this reason, so eradicating a disease is more economical and sensible in the long run.

Then that is 5 billion dollars not being used to combat cancer or autism. Im talking about it actually being *used* for those pruposes, not being donated to profit seekers. I am sure the UN could sort that out better than them.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by Colme on Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:00 am

Belsfir wrote:Then that is 5 billion dollars not being used to combat cancer or autism. Im talking about it actually being *used* for those pruposes, not being donated to profit seekers. I am sure the UN could sort that out better than them.

Not really. Having the UN administer a cure that already exists to people is infinitely easier than creating their own bureaucracy to try and effectively allocate cancer funds. It's silly to think the UN is magical enough to be efficient at curing caner but not smart enough to know how to effectively use their own funds.

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Re: The Potential Eradication of Polio

Post by plantkingman on Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:39 pm

Its possible to irradiate the virus for good. The vaccine has been out for a while now and babies (I think) are given the vaccine for the virus. It will wind up like smallpox did. But they'll probably keep a small sample for study locked up in secure labs around the world.
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